Bad weather not over, weather service warns

jgaines@macon.comJanuary 29, 2014 

Snow that melts Thursday will just turn to ice Friday morning, forecaster Adam Baker from the National Weather Service warned during the agency’s weekly weather briefing.

The weekly conference call was monitored locally from the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency bunker next to Government Center, 700 Poplar St.

Weather service maps showed the Macon area got 2 to 3 inches of snow and about 0.2 inches of accumulated ice from Tuesday night’s storm. The snow cover kept temperatures 10 to 15 degrees below earlier predictions as it kept Wednesday’s sunlight from being absorbed, Baker said.

That kept local temperatures below freezing for 31 hours, as of 11 a.m. Thursday.

Macon-Bibb crews spread salt and sand on icy major intersections and bridges, EMA Director Don Druitt said.

“Anytime the public would call in we would respond to those incidents,” he said. Workers will keep tending to icy streets, but walkers should take as much care as drivers, especially in shady spots, Druitt said.

City offices were to reopen at noon Thursday, and regular services restarted then too, Public Affairs Director Chris Floore said. Public Works crews should be able to pick up Thursday most of the trash they would normally have collected on Wednesday, he said. Trash collection will run a day behind, so workers will get Friday what they’d usually pick up Thursday, Floore said.

Though some melting should occur Thursday afternoon, that water could easily become black ice on streets Friday morning as temperatures dip again overnight, Baker said.

The Friday high should be about 56 degrees, but another chill with rain is expected Sunday -- and a strong cold front, with possible high winds, on Tuesday night, he said.

“So in summary, our roller-coaster winter does continue,” Baker said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

below is an earlier version of this story.

Drivers are urged to stay off Middle Georgia roads until at least noon Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reports all roads are open, but icy conditions persist.

GDOT trucks scattered sand and salt through the night and the Macon-Bibb Public Works department has been doing the same.

Bibb deputies have been continually calling in reports of slick spots and black ice as the temperature dropped to 13 degrees.

Robins Air Force Base has implemented delayed reporting by three hours.

Personnel living on base should report at 9 a.m., all others are to come in three hours later than normal.

For instance, if you usually report at 7 a.m., you are expected at 10 a.m.

Everyone is urged to use extreme caution and use the Greene Street, Watson Boulevard, Russell Parkway and truck gates as the Air National Guard get will be closed.

Those facing treacherous road conditions should contact their commanders and supervisors, who could grant liberal leave in certain conditions.

The child development center on base opens at 9 a.m., with the commissary, base exchange and medical clinic opening at 10 a.m.

Below is an earlier version of this story.

Life across Middle Georgia should begin a return to normal Thursday afternoon after a winter storm dropped 3 inches or more of sleet and snow across parts of the midstate.

Most government offices -- and services -- are scheduled to gear up by midday Thursday, and classes at area college campuses also are slated to resume.

Still, with an overnight low of about 14 degrees, expected icy road conditions across the region forced most public and private schools to remain closed Thursday for yet another day.

Emergency management and law enforcement authorities asked Middle Georgia residents to stay off the roads if possible, especially early Thursday morning, with concerns that the mix of ice and snow would refreeze on streets and sidewalks, causing treacherous conditions.

“It’s going to be just as dangerous tomorrow with the ice,” Macon-Bibb Public Affairs Director Chris Floore said Wednesday afternoon.

Jimmy Williams, Houston County Emergency Management Agency director, noted, “If you don’t have to be out, don’t be out.”

Two wrecks on Interstate 475 drove home their point. The tractor-trailer wrecks, which happened within 15 minutes of each other Wednesday morning, were cleared by mid-afternoon Wednesday but not before snarling traffic on each side of the interstate for hours. No serious injuries were reported.

Ice and accidents blocked Interstate 75 in Bibb County north of Pierce Avenue early Wednesday, and Bibb County deputies reported major slick spots on I-75 near Sardis Church Road, the Interstate 16 split, Pierce Avenue, Arkwright Road and north into Monroe County.

After a night of ice and snow, the traffic snarls weren’t entirely unexpected, especially since the National Weather Service’s reported high temperature in Macon on Wednesday was just 27 degrees.

Emergency workers, law enforcement and Macon-Bibb government staff conferred Wednesday afternoon at the Emergency Management Agency bunker next to Government Center on Poplar Street. Multiple big-screen TVs hung on two walls, showing weather reports, maps and live video of nearly empty major streets.

A similar meeting was held in Houston County at E-911 headquarters in Warner Robins. where officials heard the latest on the weather.

Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency Director Don Druitt said teams salted all overpasses at least three times in the previous 24 hours, then hit major intersections. (To report dangerous road conditions in Macon-Bibb, call 478-751-7500.)

Public Works crews finished salting local roads Wednesday morning and still had plenty of salt left to handle a refreeze, Floore said. Houston County public crews were also out Wednesday salting roads.

By about noon Wednesday, the only road closing in Macon-Bibb was a stretch of Columbus Road near Harvard Avenue, where a car had hit a fire hydrant. No road closures were reported in Houston County.

Macon-Bibb’s five salt trucks were scheduled to go out again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The rest of the Macon-Bibb government will reopen at noon Thursday, officials decided.

Houston County, Warner Robins and Perry city employees are expected to report at noon, while Centerville employees are expected at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Employees of the Macon Housing Authority should report to work at noon Thursday, said June Parker, MHA’s executive director.

Also, Robins Air Force Base is expected to be on a delayed, staggered schedule Thursday, Williams said.

While some rural and side roads may still have ice at midday, the temperature should rise above freezing -- the forecast is for a high of about 40 -- and help clear most streets.

“We’re asking people to be here by noon if possible, but practice caution,” Floore said.

All emergency-response personnel will remain on call, Floore said.

In a news release sent out shortly afterward, government employees were asked to call their supervisors Thursday morning if they had doubts about making it in.

“Macon-Bibb drivers are not familiar or practiced with driving in these types of conditions, and I want to encourage people to not drive unless required,” Mayor Robert Reichert said in the statement. “Our thanks go to the personnel that have been patrolling the streets, been on standby for emergencies, have staffed the Emergency Operations Center and have salted our bridges and intersections to help keep our community safe.”

Macon-Bibb garbage pickup is planned to resume Thursday afternoon, one day behind the regular schedule. Those scheduled for Wednesday pickup will have trash removed Thursday, while those who usually get Thursday pickup should get it Friday.

With warmer temperatures on the horizon, Williams is hopeful the region will soon be “out of the woods,” even by Thursday afternoon.

The weekend forecast calls for gradual warming the rest of the week, with temperatures climbing into the upper 60s by Sunday.

Writer Liz Fabian contributed to this report.

Drivers are urged to stay off Middle Georgia roads until at least noon Thursday.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reports all roads are open, but icy conditions persist.

GDOT trucks scattered sand and salt through the night and the Macon-Bibb Public Works department has been doing the same.

Bibb deputies have been continually calling in reports of slick spots and black ice as the temperature dropped to 13 degrees.

Robins Air Force Base has implemented delayed reporting by three hours.

Personnel living on base should report at 9 a.m., all others are to come in three hours later than normal.

For instance, if you usually report at 7 a.m., you are expected at 10 a.m.

Everyone is urged to use extreme caution and use the Greene Street, Watson Boulevard, Russell Parkway and truck gates as the Air National Guard get will be closed.

Those facing treacherous road conditions should contact their commanders and supervisors, who could grant liberal leave in certain conditions.

The child development center on base opens at 9 a.m., with the commissary, base exchange and medical clinic opening at 10 a.m.

Below is an earlier version of this story.

Life across Middle Georgia should begin a return to normal Thursday afternoon after a winter storm dropped 3 inches or more of sleet and snow across parts of the midstate.

Most government offices -- and services -- are scheduled to gear up by midday Thursday, and classes at area college campuses also are slated to resume.

Still, with an overnight low of about 14 degrees, expected icy road conditions across the region forced most public and private schools to remain closed Thursday for yet another day.

Emergency management and law enforcement authorities asked Middle Georgia residents to stay off the roads if possible, especially early Thursday morning, with concerns that the mix of ice and snow would refreeze on streets and sidewalks, causing treacherous conditions.

“It’s going to be just as dangerous tomorrow with the ice,” Macon-Bibb Public Affairs Director Chris Floore said Wednesday afternoon.

Jimmy Williams, Houston County Emergency Management Agency director, noted, “If you don’t have to be out, don’t be out.”

Two wrecks on Interstate 475 drove home their point. The tractor-trailer wrecks, which happened within 15 minutes of each other Wednesday morning, were cleared by mid-afternoon Wednesday but not before snarling traffic on each side of the interstate for hours. No serious injuries were reported.

Ice and accidents blocked Interstate 75 in Bibb County north of Pierce Avenue early Wednesday, and Bibb County deputies reported major slick spots on I-75 near Sardis Church Road, the Interstate 16 split, Pierce Avenue, Arkwright Road and north into Monroe County.

After a night of ice and snow, the traffic snarls weren’t entirely unexpected, especially since the National Weather Service’s reported high temperature in Macon on Wednesday was just 27 degrees.

Emergency workers, law enforcement and Macon-Bibb government staff conferred Wednesday afternoon at the Emergency Management Agency bunker next to Government Center on Poplar Street. Multiple big-screen TVs hung on two walls, showing weather reports, maps and live video of nearly empty major streets.

A similar meeting was held in Houston County at E-911 headquarters in Warner Robins. where officials heard the latest on the weather.

Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency Director Don Druitt said teams salted all overpasses at least three times in the previous 24 hours, then hit major intersections. (To report dangerous road conditions in Macon-Bibb, call 478-751-7500.)

Public Works crews finished salting local roads Wednesday morning and still had plenty of salt left to handle a refreeze, Floore said. Houston County public crews were also out Wednesday salting roads.

By about noon Wednesday, the only road closing in Macon-Bibb was a stretch of Columbus Road near Harvard Avenue, where a car had hit a fire hydrant. No road closures were reported in Houston County.

Macon-Bibb’s five salt trucks were scheduled to go out again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The rest of the Macon-Bibb government will reopen at noon Thursday, officials decided.

Houston County, Warner Robins and Perry city employees are expected to report at noon, while Centerville employees are expected at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Employees of the Macon Housing Authority should report to work at noon Thursday, said June Parker, MHA’s executive director.

Also, Robins Air Force Base is expected to be on a delayed, staggered schedule Thursday, Williams said.

While some rural and side roads may still have ice at midday, the temperature should rise above freezing -- the forecast is for a high of about 40 -- and help clear most streets.

“We’re asking people to be here by noon if possible, but practice caution,” Floore said.

All emergency-response personnel will remain on call, Floore said.

In a news release sent out shortly afterward, government employees were asked to call their supervisors Thursday morning if they had doubts about making it in.

“Macon-Bibb drivers are not familiar or practiced with driving in these types of conditions, and I want to encourage people to not drive unless required,” Mayor Robert Reichert said in the statement. “Our thanks go to the personnel that have been patrolling the streets, been on standby for emergencies, have staffed the Emergency Operations Center and have salted our bridges and intersections to help keep our community safe.”

Macon-Bibb garbage pickup is planned to resume Thursday afternoon, one day behind the regular schedule. Those scheduled for Wednesday pickup will have trash removed Thursday, while those who usually get Thursday pickup should get it Friday.

With warmer temperatures on the horizon, Williams is hopeful the region will soon be “out of the woods,” even by Thursday afternoon.

The weekend forecast calls for gradual warming the rest of the week, with temperatures climbing into the upper 60s by Sunday.

Writer Liz Fabian contributed to this report.

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